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Lye--how long can it sit?

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Bibba

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Hi all, I have been making CP for about 12 years but am stumped on something...

How long can lye sit after the mixing before making the soap? I was all set last weekend to make a batch, was almost done measuring everything when I discovered I was out of palm (main ingrediant in this receipe). It took a few days to get it in. So, the lye mixture has been sitting for just over a week. Can I still use it today for a batch or should I start over. If I start over, how do I safely get rid of the spoiled lye mixture?

Thanks for your help!
 

NancyRogers

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I know that some people here do a premixed 50% lye solution that they keep stored. I don't know what your concentration was, but to answer your question, I would bet that you need to let us know that information and if you kept your solution covered.

Maybe someone with more experience in this area will chime in.
 

tespring

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I mix my lye/water mixture up in advance and so far, I have left it two to three weeks and this was after accidently freezing it.
 

Deda

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It will keep a long time, not sure exactly how long, but weeks at least.

However, it must be stored in an air tight container. If left open the water will evaporate, leaving you with a solution with less than 50% water.
 

Bibba

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Thanks for the help...it was open, so I think I am going to start over...oils are more expensive than lye.
 

Deda

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If you know EXACTLY how much it should weigh, Lye + Water + Container then you can add the missing water.
 

IrishLass

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I masterbatch my lye, and it lasts a long time. We're talking months here. As an experiment, the longest I've let it sit (in my airtight container) has been 3 months. It still soaped just fine.

IrishLass :)
 

Deda

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IrishLass, what kind of container do you use? I'm using an empty laundry detergent bottle, it's about 2 gallons. I love to find something bigger, still airtight that could hold more than a week or 10 days worth of lye. Batching the lye is seriously my worst soaping task.
 

IrishLass

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I use empty laundry detergent bottles, too. All detergent to be exact, with the drip-proof spout and tight screw-on lid. I am currently using two of them. They hold 100 fluid ounces each. I wish I could be of more help, but it sounds like yours are already a bit larger than mine.

IrishLass :)
 

MagiaDellaLuna

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Deda said:
Batching the lye is seriously my worst soaping task.
I feel your pain. I hate batching the lye with a passion.

PS !!! I use the large (25 Kg, 55 lb.) very thick bucket with a VERY tight fitting lid in which my Lye is supplied.
 

Deda

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IrishLass said:
I use empty laundry detergent bottles, too. All detergent to be exact, with the drip-proof spout and tight screw-on lid. I am currently using two of them. They hold 100 fluid ounces each. I wish I could be of more help, but it sounds like yours are already a bit larger than mine.

IrishLass :)
Duh, I could use 2 bottles! Why is it when the most obvious solution is right in front of me I usually just step right over it?

MagiaDellaLuna said:
PS !!! I use the large (25 Kg, 55 lb.) very thick bucket with a VERY tight fitting lid in which my Lye is supplied.
No such luck, my lye comes in bags, similar to grass seed or mulch.
 

Bibba

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Great suggestions all. With a duplicate bucket, I have figured out the exact weight as suggested, then replaced the missing 75kg of water. We'll see how it goes.

From now on, I think I will mix lye ahead of time and store it in laundry jugs. Seems like this will be more efficient.
 

jewelz

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I masterbatch my lye, and it lasts a long time. We're talking months here. As an experiment, the longest I've let it sit (in my airtight container) has been 3 months. It still soaped just fine.

IrishLass :)
IrishLass,

Would you have to heat your lye mixture to add to your oil mixture then?
 

DeeAnna

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Not Irish Lass, but I use masterbatched lye too, so think I'm qualified to answer.

You don't have to heat the lye solution before use.

In fact, for safety reasons, I strongly advise against heating lye solution for any reason. If you need higher temps, heat the fats, not the lye. It's simply safer in case of an accident.
 

jewelz

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Thank you DeeAnna!
I mixed it as you suggested and it worked like a charm!
 

IrishLass

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Late to the party, but ditto what DeeAnna said. I used to warm my masterbatch lye solution in a hot water bath (in my sink, not on the stove), which worked fine for me, but it is easier just to heat the fats warmer.


IrishLass :)
 

Mistrael

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I've been thinking of trying to masterbatch my lye to make life easier, so thanks for all the info! I'd been wondering how long it could sit too.
 

Todd Ziegler

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I masterbatch my lye, and it lasts a long time. We're talking months here. As an experiment, the longest I've let it sit (in my airtight container) has been 3 months. It still soaped just fine.

IrishLass :)
Would you mind telling me what you do to make your master batch of lye. I have some 2 gallon chemical containers that I got from a fertilizer company (brand new never been used) and I think it would be worth making some ahead of time. I think I know what to do but confirmation would be better. Also I have an RO filter with a deionizer filter, would that make the water better or would it be ok with just running the water through the RO filter and bypassing the DI filter?
 

jcandleattic

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Would you mind telling me what you do to make your master batch of lye. I have some 2 gallon chemical containers that I got from a fertilizer company (brand new never been used) and I think it would be worth making some ahead of time. I think I know what to do but confirmation would be better. Also I have an RO filter with a deionizer filter, would that make the water better or would it be ok with just running the water through the RO filter and bypassing the DI filter?
Not IL either but I mix my lye in a 50/50 solution. I do pretty big batches, and use 12lbs water, and 12lbs lye at a time. mix it slowly in a 3 gallon bucket (which is the perfect fit for this much)
Because it heats up so much with that much, I then lightly cover it with saran and then the lid (so as it's cooling and some of the water evaporates, it will cling to the wrap and drip back into the solution)
Once it's completely cooled (next day or so) I then ladle it out into my containers, which is 2-3 very well cleaned out laundry jugs. The ones with the screw top and pour spout. Close them tightly, if the 'caution lye' and cross bones markings I put on them has rubbed off, I re mark it, and put them in my storage cupboard.
If I had little kids here or other people who are allowed in my lab, the cupboard would have a lock, but my granddaughter is 10 and doesn't go down in the basement (which is locked unless I'm home and working down there)

Hope this helps. You can do the same with smaller than 12lbs each, this is just what is convenient for me. This way I only have to MB lye maybe 2-3 times a year. And yeah, stored tightly sealed, it can last months, years.
Biggest concern is evaporation, and all that will do is make it a stronger concentration if it does happen.
At time of soaping I take my 50/50 batch and add the extra liquid at that time to bring it to the concentration I want to soap with. This also makes it convenient to do the split method for milk and another alternative liquids in soap.
 

jcandleattic

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Also I have an RO filter with a deionizer filter, would that make the water better or would it be ok with just running the water through the RO filter and bypassing the DI filter?
Completely missed this portion. I have a RO filter that doesn't offer the DI filter with it and this is the water I use to make my MB lye, and I have never, ever had a problem with the water. (other things yes, but not the RO water! :) )
 

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